« PreviousContinue »
reality thus described by one that beheld it:—“On entering the cottage I found him alone. I was startled by the sight of a pale, emaciated man, a living image of death, fastened upright in his chair by a rude contrivance of cords and belts hanging from the ceiling. He was totally unable to move either hand or foot, having more than four years been entirely deprived of the use of his limbs, yet the whole time suffering extreme anguish from swellings at all his joints. I asked, ' Are you left alone, my friend, in this deplorable situation?' 'No, sir, I am not alone, for God is with me.' His Bible lay open before him; I asked him if he ever felt tempted to repine under the pressure of so long-continued and heavy a calamity? Not,' said he, 'for the last three years; blessed be God for it!'-his faith giving life to his countenance as he spoke-' for I have learned from this book in whom to believe; and though I am aware of my weakness and unworthiness, I am persuaded that God will not leave me nor forsake me. And so it is that often when my lips are closed with pain, and I cannot speak to the glory of God, he enables me to sing his praises in my heart.'”
If human testimony were to be further brought forward as to the superiority of these spiritual riches, we might hear it from the lips of myriads of dying Christians or suffering martyrs. But could you ask a saint with Christ, what is the worth of the Saviour, and of heavenly treasures, human language would be too feeble to give an adequate reply. The crowning glory of these treasures is that they are everlasting. How transient are the riches of this world! What are they to their owners one moment after death ? All gone, and gone for ever! They who in the morning of their dying day possess large estates, have in the evening at most but a coffin and a shroud, if these can be called theirs. Not thus transient are the Christian's riches. Blessings obtained by faith, union with God and the Saviour, last for ever. When life closes, these still enrich. When the judgment day has passed, these bless for ever: tens of thousands of years after the worldly have lost their wealth, the humble believer will rejoice in his, and while eternal ages roll will continue rich and happy.
Reader, are you a possessor of these treasures ? There is but one way to obtain them: Jesus said, “ I am the way.” They can be found only by coming to him, and experiencing the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Seek them while you may. All may be yours. The blood of Jesus can cleanse you from all sin. Believe in him. Yield to his invitation—" Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
is ined by life clos
WHAT WILL MAKE A DEATH-BED EASY? “ Allow me to ask your opinion, sir, as to what would make a death-bed easy," said the princess Charlotte to a minister of the gospel, who called upon her. The gentleman started at so unexpected a question from a young woman blooming with health and in so high a station, and he expressed surprise that the princess should consult him, when she had access to persons who were so much more capable of answering her inquiries. Her reply was that she had asked the same of many, for she wished to collect various opinions on that all-important subject. Thus pressed, the clergyman felt it to be his duty to be faithful. He therefore recommended her to study the Bible, which he said represented faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the only means of making a death-bed easy. The princess burst into tears, saying, “Oh! that is what my grandfather has often told me; but then he used to add, that I must not only read the Bible, but I must pray for the Holy Spirit to enable me to understand its meaning."
When the visitor rose to depart, the princess begged he would remember her in his prayers. The good man replied, that he did pray for her not only from a sense of duty but from inclination also ; adding, that she might therefore rely on an interest in his poor prayers. “Do not call them poor," said her royal
highness, "for you know that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.'” The princess shortly after was unexpectedly called to the trial of an early death; and let us hope that she had taken heed to the pious counsel that was given her.
Reader! do you feel any anxiety about this matter? You too may soon be stretched upon a dying bed—a bed of pain and sorrow, from which no earthly power can save you; and nothing but faith in the Lord Jesus can make it easy. He is not only able but willing to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by him. If you have not come to him, come now. The subjoined testimonies to his faithfulness are sufficient to prove that if you do so, he will never leave nor forsake you.
Dr. Payson, in his dying charge to the young men of his congregation, assembled round his bed, gave this testimony :-"I wish to tell you what a precious pilot Christ is, that you may be induced to choose him for yours. I feel desirous that you should see that the religion I have preached can support me in death. I have many ties which bind me to earth, but the other world acts like a much stronger magnet, and draws my heart away from this. While my body is tortured, the soul is perfectly happy and peaceful, more happy than I can possibly express to you: my soul is filled with joy unspeakable. I seem to swim in a flood of glory which God pours down upon me; and I know, I know, that my happiness is but begun. I cannot doubt that it will last for ever! And now is all this a delusion? is it a delusion which can fill the soul to overflowing with joy in such circumstances ?- No, it is not a delusion, I feel that it is not; I do not merely know that I shall enjoy all this, I enjoy it now All this happiness I trace back to the religion I have preached, and to the time when that great change took place in my heart which I have often told you is necessary to salvation; and I now tell you again, that without this change you cannot, no you cannot, see the kingdom of God."
Dr. Doddridge thus expressed the state of his mind during his last illness :-"My soul is vigorous and healthy, notwithstanding the hastening decay of this frail and tottering body. It is a blessed thing to live above the fear of death, and I praise God I fear it not. God hath, as it were, let heaven down upon me in my nights of weakness and waking. I am not suffered once to lose my hope. My confidence is, not that I have lived such or such a life, or served God in this or the other manner : I know of no prayer I ever offered, no service I ever performed, but there has been such a mixture of what was wrong in it, that instead of recommending me to the favour of God, I needed his pardon through Christ for the same. I have no hope in
is my confidence-there is a hope set before me: I have fled, I still flee, for refuge to that hope ; in Christ I trust; in him I have strong consolation, and shall assuredly be accepted in this Beloved of my soul. The Spirit of adoption is given me, enabling me to cry, `Abba, Father.' I have no doubt of being a child of God, and that life and death, and all my present exercises, are directed in mercy by my adored heavenly Father." - The Rev. Joseph Alleine, author of the “Alarm to the Unconverted," gave like testimony to the truth of Christianity, and its power to make a death-bed happy, in an address to his friends, who had collected round his bed in his last illness. “My friends," he said, “ life is mine, death is mine; in that covenant which I preached to you is all my salvation and all my desire ; although my body does not prosper, I hope, through grace, my soul doth. I have lived a sweet life by the promises, and I hope, through grace, can die by a promise. The promises of God, which are everlasting, will stand by us : nothing but God in them will serve us in a day of affliction. My dear friends, I feel the power of those doctrines I preached to you on my heart—the doctrines of faith, of repentance, of self-denial, of the covenant of grace, of contentment, and the rest. Oh that you would live them over, now that I cannot preach to you!”
The following is the dying testimony of Mrs. Hannah More: -“ Jesus is all in all ! happy are they who are expecting to be together in a better world! The thought of that world lifts the mind above itself. To go to heaven !-think what that is. To go to my Saviour, who died that I might live! Oh, glorious grave! It is a glorious thing to die.” When some one spoke of her good deeds, she replied, “ Talk not so vainly; I utterly cast them from me, and fall low at the foot of the cross."
The mother of the Rev. Basil Wood, when on her death-bed, took her son by the hand, exclaiming, “ My dear, God has been very gracious this afternoon;"-he had left her for his public service;" he sent my son from me, but he sent himself to me. Oh! I am very happy; I am going to my mansion in the skies, I shall soon be there. Let me tell you by my own experience, when you come to lie upon your death-bed an interest in Jesus will be found a precious possession. Oh, what a mercy of mercies that we should be brought out of the bondage of Egypt, and united together in the kingdom of God's dear Son. 1 exhort you to preach the gospel ; preach it faithfully and boldly ; fear not the face of man ; endeavour to put in a word of comfort to the unbeliever, to the poor weak souls.”
The following account was written by the late William Knibb, and shows the power of Divine grace to sustain the mind, even in the midst of ignorance and poverty :-“I found a poor female slave, who had been ill of a decline a year, lying on a mat on the floor, her head supported by a chest. Never did I see such an object. When I entered, she said 'Oh massa, me glad to see you; me thought me should die, and not be able to tell you how good our Lord is; Oh massa, him too good, too good for me poor nigger. After questioning her, I asked her if she was afraid to die: her eyes sparkled with delight, No, massa, Jesus him die for me ; me no afraid to die, and go to him, him too good.' Oh, thought I, this is religion. Soon afterwards she died; rejoicing in that love, of which, I doubt not, she is now a happy partaker.”
Reader ! have you faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? If you have not, hearken to the words of an old divine,* inviting you to come to Jesus :" Have you sins, or have you none? If you have, whither should you go but to the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world ? Have you souls, or have you none? If you have, whither should you go but to the Saviour of souls ? Is there a life to come, or is there not? If there is, whither should you go but to Him who only hath the words of eternal life? Is there a wrath to come, or is there not? If there is, whither should you go but to Him who only can deliver from the wrath to come? And will he not receive you? If he yielded himself into the hands of them that sought his life, will he hide himself from the hearts of them that seek his mercy? If he was willing to be taken by the hand of violence, is he not much more willing to be taken by the hand of faith? He that died for thy sins, will he cast thee off for thine infirmities? Oh! come, come, come; I charge you come ; I beseech you come ; come, and he will give you life; come, and he will give you rest; come, and he will receive you; knock, and he will open to you; look to him, and he will save you. Did ever any one come to him for a cure, and go away without it? Thou wouldest find something in thyself, but thou findest nothing but what thou hast reason to be ashamed of; but let. not that hinder, but further thy coming. Come as thou art; come poor, come needy, come naked, come empty, come wretched, only come, only believe ; his heart is free, his arms are open, it is his joy and his crown to receive thee. If thou art willing, he never was otherwise. He ever lives, ever loves, ever pities, ever pleads. HE LOVES AND SAVES TO THE UTTERMOST ALL THAT COME UNTO HIM.”
* Rev. John Mason.